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How to Spend 3 Days in the Algarve

How to Spend 3 Days in the Algarve

Gorgeous beaches, spectacular coast, surf, dolphins, sunshine, plus castles and countryside. What’s not to love about Portugal’s playground, The Algarve? Well, the crowds of tourists for one. In peak season, from July to September, the Portuguese leave and the sunseekers from Northern Europe move in. If you want fun in the sun and cafes and nightclubs after dark, this is the place for you. But even if that’s not your style and you like a quieter, more relaxing holiday, The Algarve has something to offer in its hillsides and smaller towns.

Day 1: Kick Up Your Heels Lagos is the peak tourist spot. In the Western Algarve, its cobbled streets are full of cafes, bars and clubs and its wide golden beaches and secluded coves are perfect for families, couples and backpackers looking to sleep off the night before. But don’t dismiss Lagos as only about superficial fun in the sun – this town has history. During Portugal’s Age of Discoveries, many naval missions were launched from the port in the Rio Bensafrim – visit the Fortaleza da Ponta da Bandeira, a 17th century fortress that is now a museum. And the town’s pretty streets are enclosed by 14th century walls. There are plazas to while away the time in, and picturesque churches to explore (the Igreja de Santa Maria and the Igreja de Santo Antonio), as well as the Castelos dos Governadores, an Arab castle.

Day 2: Head For the Hills Inland from the coast, rise the steep, wooded hills of Serra de Monchique, the Algarve’s mountain range. Visit the small town of Monchique for some respite from the crowds and sun, and go hiking, mountain biking or canoeing. If you prefer to relax, there are spas dotted around including the lovely spa village of Caldas de Monchique. Omega Parque Zoo, on the way to Monchique, specialises in endangered animals such as cheetahs, onyx and bamboo lemurs. Closer to the coast is the town of Silves, once the Moorish capital of the area. Now a market town for the local citrus producers, it’s full of history; explore the castle, the Gothic Cathedral and the 15th century Chapel of Joao do Rego.

Day 3: Relax in Elegance Head east along the Algarve, stopping at the midpoint in the town of Albufeira. From here you can take a boat trip exploring the caves along the spectacular coastline – you might even spot some dolphins. Further east along the coast is Faro, the capital of the region, but keep going to the small, fishing port of Taviras. It’s a little ways in from the coast on the banks of the Rio Gilao and has a more relaxed elegance than the rest of The Algarve. A ruined castle tops the hill, there’s an old Roman bridge, Gothic and Renaissance churches, and the usual lovely cobbled streets to explore. Make sure you visit a patisserie for the yummy specialty: Portuguese tarts. Just off the coast and reachable by ferry is the island Ilha de Tavira, with lovely peaceful beaches.

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12 Tours and Activities | All The Algarve Tours

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Lisbon Day Trip from the Algarve

Lisbon Day Trip from the Algarve

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15
Discover stunning Lisbon monuments and culture during a guided day trip from the Algarve. With a guide, see the architectural beauties of Belém, the UNESCO-listed Jerónimos Monastery, and the old quarter of Alfama with the the Castle of São Jorge. Spend free time exploring on your own before heading back to the Algarve.
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  • 12 to 13 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$61.39
From
$61.39
Taking safety measures

Caves and Dolphin Watching Cruise from Albufeira

Caves and Dolphin Watching Cruise from Albufeira

star-4.5
709
Admire the beauty of the Algarve coastline as you discover Portugal’s caves and dolphins during this cruise from Albufeira. Aboard your sleek boat, bask in the sapphire blue waters of the Atlantic and maneuver to the Beach of Carvoeiro to uncover the stunning rock caverns. During your cruise, dip into the Atlantic for a bit and enjoy a chance to see friendly dolphins.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$36.22
From
$36.22
Taking safety measures

Seville Day Trip from the Algarve

Seville Day Trip from the Algarve

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66
Spend a day exploring the flavorful city of Seville during a panoramic city tour from the Algarve. The capital of Spain’s Andalucia region is the heart of Flamenco dancing and is brimming with fantastic monuments and attractions. Alongside your expert guide learn history and culture as you traverse the Santa Cruz quarter. Discover the beautiful Maria Luisa Park set next to Plaza de España. Then see Real Alcazar Palace and Seville Cathedral the largest gothic church in the world during four hours of free time to explore Seville at your own pace.
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  • 12 to 13 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$53.65
From
$53.65
Taking safety measures

Best of the East: Faro, Olhão, Tavira and Cacela Velha

Best of the East: Faro, Olhão, Tavira and Cacela Velha

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9
Embrace the magic of the East Algarve during a guided day trip to Faro, Olhao, Tavira, and Cacela Velha, leaving from the Algarve region. This tour visits the charming Old Town in Faro, the elegant capital of the Algarve. Explore architecture like Tavira Castle, a ruin considered to be from the Neolithic era. Then, enjoy free time to relish the mellow atmosphere in the fishing town of Olhão. Finally, pass by the Gilão River and absorb panoramic views in Cacela Velha, where your tour concludes.
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  • 9 to 10 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$49.98
From
$49.98

Silves and Monchique Half Day Bus Tour

Silves and Monchique Half Day Bus Tour

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11
Discover the Algarve’s unique Moorish influences during this half-day guided tour to the towns of Silves and Monchique, departing from the Algarve. This tour uncovers the impressive 11th century Silves Castle, one of the best-preserved Moorish fortifications in Portugal. Then take in the views from Algarve's tallest mountain, Foia, which stands at 2,960 feet (902 meters) above sea level. Enjoy free time to shop for local handicrafts and products before heading back to Algarve.
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  • 4 to 5 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$27.07
From
$27.07
Taking safety measures

Private Tour: Algarve Wine and Tapas Tour by Sidecar Motorcycle from Portimao

Private Tour: Algarve Wine and Tapas Tour by Sidecar Motorcycle from Portimao

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43
Take your taste buds on a tour of the Algarve on this private tour from Portimão by motorcycle. Choose to ride pillion or in the sidecar, and then take it all in as your professional driver-guide drives you to some of Portimão’s and Alvor’s best-loved foodie hotspots. Savor fresh fish and seafood tapas, tempt your sweet tooth with local sweet treats and try up to different wines at an award-winning winery just outside of Lagoa. Be sure to bring your appetite.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$188.89
per group
From
$188.89
per group

'Leaozinho' Pirate Ship Cruise from Albufeira

'Leaozinho' Pirate Ship Cruise from Albufeira

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101
Hop aboard this timeless pirate ship for a Captain Hook cruise leaving from Albufeira. This Algarve sightseeing cruise offers two options that capture pristine coastal views and gives you a chance to see dolphins as well as take a dip in the Atlantic. The half-day cruise visits the caves which seize the beauty of the coast. On both itineraries, it is possible to view dolphins from the boat or even take a swim.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$29.47
From
$29.47
Taking safety measures

Lagos, Sagres & Cape St.Vincent Half-Day Bus Tour

Lagos, Sagres & Cape St.Vincent Half-Day Bus Tour

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14
Discover highlights along West Algarve’s coast during this half-day guided tour of Lagos and Sagres from the Algarve. See historic artifacts, monuments, and churches, and drive through traditional fishing villages lining the coast. Top it off with a picture-perfect viewpoint atop a Sagres cliffside.
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  • 4 to 5 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$28.74
From
$28.74
Taking safety measures

Algarve Jet Boat Tour from Albufeira

Algarve Jet Boat Tour from Albufeira

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69
Feel the thrill on a high-speed jet boat ride from Albufeira harbor. Race through the open waters off Portugal’s Algarve coast on this exciting jet boat adventure. With a professional skipper at the helm, speed, spin, and splash your way from the harbor.
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  • 1 hour
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$36.83
From
$36.83
Taking safety measures

Quarteira and Vilamoura Seaside Segway Tour

Quarteira and Vilamoura Seaside Segway Tour

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30
Explore the pristine coastal towns of Quarteira and Vilamoura during this small-group guided 1.5-hour seaside Segway tour in the Algarve. Glide along the halcyon Falésia and Quarteira beaches and admire pale sands positioned next to the Atlantic’s emerald waters. This tour explores the Vilamoura marina’s scintillating farmer’s markets where you can observe stalls of local fish and fresh produce. While you zip along palm-lined promenades, enjoy an in depth experience as your expert guide highlights the Algarve’s interesting culture and history.
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  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$73.31
From
$73.31
Taking safety measures

Algarve Jet Ski Rental from Albufeira

Algarve Jet Ski Rental from Albufeira

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12
Bounce across the waves off Portugal’s Algarve coast with this Jet Ski rental. Pick up your Jet Ski at Albufeira Marina and then, following a safety briefing, pull on your included life jacket and hop aboard for a thrilling ride through the open waters.
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  • 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$73.67
per group
From
$73.67
per group
Taking safety measures

Ria Formosa Natural Park Birdwatching Segway Tour from Faro

Ria Formosa Natural Park Birdwatching Segway Tour from Faro

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93
Experience nature up close and personal on a Segway, during this 1.5-hour birdwatching tour in Ria Formosa Natural Park, departing from Faro. The beauty of the Algarve is in its iconic landscapes and untouched marshes. During this tour, explore Ria Formosa Natural Park and spot native and migratory birds feeding in freshwater lagoons, tidal flats and other ecosystems. Catch glimpses of flamingos, the rare purple swamphen, and other bird species as you learn about their natural habitat from your expert guide. This nature and wildlife tour also offers an optional pickup and drop-off from your Algarve hotel.
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  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$64.04
From
$64.04
Taking safety measures